Today my three months aboard Kincsem are ending! What an epic adventure they were, with so many beautiful and dramatic landscapes, the incredibly blue and crystal clear water of the Mediterranean, and life on board a very comfortable ship!

The last week in the Aeolian Islands was just perfect - calm water, not too hot weather, beautiful swimming and paddle boarding stops, and a group of very charming and unexpectedly different islands. The transition from ugly Cetraro to Stromboli was magical. Slowly, very slowly, a perfect cone rises from the horizon, crowned with a little cloud that suddenly puffs.

Next we sailed to chic Panarea. Picture perfect white houses, narrow sunny streets with many elegant shops, and a great bar at the harbor that served delicious Aperol Spritzes with a heap of antipasti. The weather gods were smiling on us last week, as there was very little wind and from a good direction. We could anchor everywhere, which is impossible or at least very uncomfortable in windy conditions. On some of the islands the “harbor” could only accommodate dinghies and small fishing boats.

From Panarea we sailed past bizarre lava rocks to an island with the charming name Filicudi. The small village had a good grocery store, and a hole-in-the-wall hardware store with a sign: “It is open when I am here!” Next: the smallest of all, Alicudi. This is the perfect spot to really escape the tourists: a tiny village with a small restaurant. The waitress told us that only mules could carry everything up to the houses. 15 Euro for half way up, and 30 Euros for all the way up the tall mountain! The next morning we saw that she had not made fun of us: two mules and a guy laden with suitcases coming down a steep trail, followed by a family of tourists on foot. Off to Salina! We anchored in a good swim spot and took the dinghy to the most beautiful big grotto with turquoise and brilliant blue water right next to an impressive lava rock arch.

From Salina we sailed to Lipari, the biggest Island. A town - after all the tiny villages! Joerg got a power washer in the very small local hardware store, it was like Christmas! Lipari has a fantastic Acropolis on top of the cliff containing a very good museum about the island’s history since prehistoric days. Apparently the blowing volcanic sand and ash had preserved the old buildings and artifacts to a depth of 9 metres. Towering amphorae, jewelry, glass, painted vases, small figurines. I was enchanted by a tiny figure, several thousand years old, of a woman giving a baby a bath. It must have been a feast for the archaeologists.

We made a last stop in a lovely bay on the island Vulcano: scenic volcanic rocks and perfectly calm, clear water for a last paddle board and long swim. Then we were off to Tropea on the coast.

Tropea is full of old and picturesque palaces in the historic quarter on top of the cliff. Old and new crew got together for a fun dinner in the old town. I leave Joerg in good hands with Barbara and Sigi Brunner, and Christoph Lange.

Until next year, Admiral signing off!


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